Recently, Chris and Ian and I found ourselves at a diner for lunch.  Diners are Ian’s favorite eating spots, because although he has been a vegetarian since the age of 3, this does not mean he’s a health food nut.  He’ll have a strawberry shake and the mozzarella sticks, please, with ketchup standing in as his Reagan-esque veggie.

As we sat there waiting for our food, I amused myself by reading the placemat, which featured an array of tiny, bizarre ads.  I learned that you can rent the diner for your functions.  The word accommodations was mis-spelled.  Two c’s and two m’s, people!  It’s really very easy to learn and remember!

The ad went on to tout the diner as the perfect place for your functions – weddings, retirement parties, graduations – and also “grievances.”  I was puzzled.  Why would you need a big room to address a grievance?  I pictured bringing my extended family and friends to the diner for a show-down with my enemy and her pals and relatives.  We would then hash out our differences.  Like the Hatfields and the McCoys but without the shotguns and overalls. 

Rolling his eyes. Ian said with exaggerated patience, “It’s the wrong word, but you know what they mean.” 

“No, I actually don’t.”

“They mean like wakes and viewings.”  I have never heard someone refer to “occasions involving the death of a human being” as “grievances” but since we were on the subject, I now see there is a void in the otherwise extremely rich English language and we do indeed need such a collective term.    ”Grievances” isn’t it, but something like that.

Elsewhere on the placemat there was an ad hyping “Kilt Rentals.” This was also something I had never heard of before.

But if you’re going to a Scottish grievance and need proper attire, this would be just the ticket. If bagpipes are skirling, you need skirts that are swirling.  And for heaven’s sake, why buy when you can rent?

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